Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Clacton Pier (Clacton)

Clacton Pier is one of a dwindling number of English seaside piers, a fascinating and much loved institution.

It is situated at Clacton in Essex, on the North Sea coast.

Peter Schuyler Bruff, an entrepreneur who already had interests in the nearby towns of Felixstowe, Harwich and Walton-on-the-Naze, bought a parcel of land at Great Clacton in 1864, with a view to creating a profitable development.

He proceeded to build a pier, which was originally a small affair 480 feet long. It was opened in 1871, brilliant timing because it was a few days before the country`s first ever Bank Holiday.

Between 1890 and 1893, the pier was extended to 1180 feet, to accommodate steamers at low tide.

From the 1920s, Clacton Pier was developed into an amusement centre, with swimming pool, dance hall, theatres and a zoo. The most famous addition, however, was Steel Stella, a roller coaster opened in 1937.

Until the 1960s, Clacton was one stop on a popular system of steamer rides which included Tower Pier in London, Gravesend, Southend and Margate.

Steel Stella was destroyed by fire in 1973, but Clacton Pier continues to be a hugely popular attraction.

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